County considers fire dept. purchase

Published 7:03 pm Friday, November 15, 2019

Chief John Ekaitis recently created a commission to ensure the fire department purchased the safest equipment possible. 

On Thursday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners heard that committee’s finding on extrication equipment and plans to place equipment that is more than 20 years old.

“This program for this process was conducted with many hours that these guys spent out cutting on cars and experimenting with different manufacturers,” Ekaitis said. “The funding is available in SPLOST. What we’re trying to do is standardize the equipment.”

The six-member committee selected battery operated extrication tools for the new engines, which are being put into service. According to information shared during the meeting, four brands were tested for approximately four hours in a variety of scenarios that the TCFD encounters at accident scenes. 

The committee ultimately recommended equipment made by Hurst based on the strength of the tools, NFPA cutting ratings, dependability and reliability. The fire department has also used older versions of the Hurst tools being considered, so the committee members said that firefighters would be more familiar with the brand.

“What we’re asking you to consider is the new tools that we use, and we chose because of cutting force, NFPA standards,” Battalion Chief Michael Williams said. “The Hurst tool that I brought is the brand that we’re wanting to go with. We already have Hurst, and the company that provides us the Hurst equipment also services what we have now.”

Members of the committee shared details on how the new equipment would provide a significant benefit to the department compared to current equipment and the brands compared. 

They noted features like maneuverability and functionality when exposed to water, which they said could be important during heavy rainfall or in the case of an accident at West Point Lake. 

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on the request to purchase the equipment on Tuesday.

“I want to say I really appreciate Chief Ekaitis,” County Manager Eric Mosley said. “He has done a really good job of creating these committees to purchase equipment — so new fire trucks, new equipment. We’re going to utilize our current staff to help make those recommendations. I think this is a great example of the first shot at this.”

Other items covered during the meeting included:

  • County Planner Erin Johnson shared information on the comprehensive plan kick-off, which is meant to brief the community on the process of updating the local comprehensive plan.
  • The Troup County Board of Commissioners received information on the bid for the LaGrange Active Life restroom renovations. The county received five bids for the project, and the lowest bid was submitted by River City Contracting for $55,288. The commission will vote to award the bid on Tuesday.
  • Ekaitis requested the currently unfilled position of logistics/EMS officer be changed to a training, volunteer recruitment and retention and safety officer for the fire department.
  • Community Development Director Jay Anderson shared information on a proposed resolution requesting that the state continue to allow local governing bodies to establish their own design standards. The resolution would voice the county’s opposition to HB302 and SB172.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners will meet again on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.